BioWare, the studio behind Dragon Age and Mass Effect series, has announced that it is laying off around 50 staff members to "meet the needs of upcoming projects" and to make the studio "more agile and more focused".
In an update on BioWare's website, general manager Gary McKay stated that to be in a situation where it can keep crafting single-player games that we know the studio for, "change is not only necessary, but unavoidable". He wrote: "In order to meet the needs of our upcoming projects, continue to hold ourselves to the highest standard of quality, and ensure BioWare can continue to thrive in an industry that’s rapidly evolving, we must shift towards a more agile and more focused studio. It will allow our developers to iterate quickly, unlock more creativity, and form a clear vision of what we’re building before development ramps up."
The reality and practical application of this is that the studio is now "eliminating approximately 50 roles at BioWare". In terms of what roles have been directly affected, the statement doesn't say, but early commentary and reaction on social media seem to indicate that long-standing writers and staff who have been with BioWare since Dragon Age Origins in 2007 have been let go, with BioWare veteran writer, Mary Kirby, declaring yesterday on Twitter/X that she is now "available".
Appearing to attempt to soften the blow, McKay says this change comes in line with "a significant number of roles that are open currently across EA's other studios" and offers reassurances that affected people will receive help and resources if they wish to apply for these. However, he also admits that it's "unlikely that everyone will find a new role within the company".
McKay goes on to address Dragon Age: Dreadwolf directly saying that the studio's dedication to the game "has never wavered". He wrote: "Our commitment remains steadfast, and we are all working to make this game worthy of the Dragon Age name." With this in mind, it does seem like an unusual move to be potentially letting go of staff who have been on the Dragon Age series itself for so long while the next installment is in development.
Layoffs are no stranger to the video game development industry and can often happen quickly or out of the blue. We also know that change has been occurring at BioWare and parent company EA for a little while, with Star Wars: The Old Republic being moved to a new studio earlier this year, and EA has realigned its studios into separate organizations as part of a wider restructuring.
Get daily insight, inspiration and deals in your inbox
Get the hottest deals available in your inbox plus news, reviews, opinion, analysis and more from the TechRadar team.
Rob is Deputy Editor of TechRadar Gaming, a video games journalist, critic, editor, and writer, and has years of experience gained from multiple publications. Prior to being TechRadar Gaming's Deputy Editor, he was a longstanding member of GamesRadar+, being the Commissioning Editor for Hardware there for years, while also squeezing in a short stint as Gaming Editor at WePC before joining TechRadar Gaming. He is also a freelance writer on tech, gaming hardware, video games, gardens, and landscapes and is crowdfunding a book on video game landscapes that you can back and pre-order now too.